In 2003 I ran the NJ Marathon with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training (TNT). It was the second time I ran a marathon for charity. The first time was NYC in 1997 for which I raised money for my employer, Bergen County’s United Way; but that was a personal effort. There was no team. I joined TNT with the idea that I would run to honor the memory of a former co-worker who succumbed to Lymphoma in 1995 and who’s illness was treated so insensitively by our employer that it led me to my non-profit career the following year (my “I have to find something more meaningful to do with my life” moment). I have to be honest though; my decision to get involved with TNT wasn’t totally altruistic. As a fundraiser, I wanted to do some spying to figure out if my cause could adopt such a fundraising model.
TNT does an amazing job. The minimum fundraising requirement was $3,500, but for that I got to attend a kick-off event, group training runs, other social events, got support for my running and fundraising, a team singlet and tee shirt; I enjoyed a pre-race dinner with the team at the host hotel, had overnight accommodations, pre-race breakfast with the team and transportation to the start. Plus lots of cheerleaders along the course who spotted me in my purple team colors and yelled “Go team!” It was the first time as a runner I wasn’t an individual, but part of a team. And the fact that we were raising money for a good cause made it all the better. We were all part of something much bigger than ourselves.
Nicole Aubuchon, who I know from my running club, De Novo Harriers, is a TNT Coach and Captain and has helped organize a corporate team for her employer, KPMG. The company had 30 people participating on the company’s team for NJ Marathon weekend last month. About half ran the 5k on Saturday, while two ran the full Marathon and the rest the Half or Half Marathon Relay on Sunday. Collectively the KPMG TNT group raised $52,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! Woo hoo! Way to go KPMG! This made them the 2nd biggest corporate fundraiser for TNT (TNT raised a total of $315,000 from the NJ Marathon this year). Nicole said the Global CTO who participated in the Half Marathon Relay (and is “really competitive”) isn’t happy with 2nd and plans are underway already to make next year even more successful.
Even non-runners at KMPG can get involved in the fundraising, not just by contributing to their co-workers who are, but also by participating in on-site company fundraisers like Jeans Week that raises money for TNT and other charities. KPMG has been participating in TNT since 2012 with the NJ Marathon weekend being their big annual event, although some of the team members participate in other events – including cycling – in other areas of the country. Earlier this year, Nicole and a co-worker went to Alaska.
Nicole’s favorite part about her TNT involvement she says now is being a coach. “I love the aspect of supporting our runners,” she said. “And it’s so great to see so many people running for the first time because of this program.”
The 5k was added to the schedule for the KMPG Team this year and about 80% of the participants were new to running. The Bergen County TNT Coach led weekly trainings for the KMPG group allowing the new runners to develop in a run/walk progression suitable for beginners.
Nicole and I both know from witnessing the development of new runners through our club’s coached Beginner to Finisher 5k program, that the camaraderie of a team and support of others is so important for beginners. Actually, it’s important at every level and that’s one of the things that makes TNT so great. Whether you are on a personal journey to raise money for their cause or part of a big corporate group like KPMG, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete, you will feel like part of something much, much bigger than yourself, or your group. You will be given a lot of personal support and coaching in order to become a better runner – and fundraiser! You will also be given lots of opportunities to connect with your teammates.
For more information about how you or your corporate team can get involved in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program, please visit teamintraining.org.
Team KPMG 2016 NJ Marathon, Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay, and 5k